Foster Care Innovation Initiative Charts a Different Path to Evidence

From the Social Innovation Research Center
Posted on December 6, 2014 by Patrick Lester

While momentum appears to be building for the increased use of evidence in social policy, the ride has occasionally been a bumpy one, with pushback both on and off Capitol Hill over the appropriate definition of evidence. Some fear that these disagreements — dubbed the “causal wars” — could derail the movement entirely.

One possible answer might be found in an Obama administration program intended to test new ways to find homes for the most disadvantaged children in the foster care system. The program, called the Permanency Innovations Initiative (PII), is similar to its better known cousins like the Social Innovation Fund and the Investing in Innovation (i3) program. Like them, it too is focused on building the social policy evidence base, but it is doing so in a different way.

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